Celebrating their 10th anniversary, Juno award winner Jane Bunnett and Maqueque bring their unique Afro-Cuban jazz sound to Haliburton Forest July 21.

Considered one of the top 10 touring bands out there right now, the tight all female jazz band has set themselves apart from the rest, stylistically, by playing and practicing with no shortcuts. “We have put the time in. The vocal components intertwine with the various parts of the compositions,” Bunnett said, “and that creates textures that enhance the music.”

Playing With Fire is the band’s fourth album, which they are touring now. “This was created during COVID,” said Bunnett, “so completely different from the style I am used to, but I am so happy with the results.”

No stranger to these parts, Bunnett was able to get the initial ideas and compositions done while waiting out COVID at her cabin north of Bancroft, “So, the material was sort of written in a very isolated circumstance, without being able to workshop any of the materials with the band, none of the girls were with me,” explained Bunnett.

Getting back into the studio, even if it was only with a few of the band at a time, Bunnett considered a luxury. “Being able to bounce things off someone else, because in the cabin there was just me,” she said. “I had never done anything so fast, only two or three days, but we did, and it was great.”

There have been a few changes in Maqueque since its inception, but Bunnett is proud of the talented young women who have played with them, honed their skills, and moved on to create their own groups.

“That is the great thing about Maqueque, people get more experienced, develop their talents and move on,” she said. “It is the natural process of how things go. I feel like now it is a kind of launchpad to be able to bring new talent through, develop the skills, and give them a chance to get out and play.” She said that everyone really supports each other, “It is a pretty nurturing environment, and it is those types of environments that bring out the best in everybody.”